He was the last original member touring with the band

Lynyrd Skynyrd Gary Rossington
Gary Rossington [Amy Harris/Invision/AP]

Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington has died. Rossington was the last original member of the band that was still touring. He was 71 years old.

“It is with our deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today,” the band said in a statement. “Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd.’ The band is slated to tour with ZZ Top this summer, starting on July 21. Today, Lynyrd Skynyrd rocks with a current line-up featuring Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Mark “Sparky” Matejka, Michael Cartellone, Keith Christopher, Peter Keys, Carol Chase and Stacy Michelle. Gary Rossington has had a significant presence and creative influence with the band, making select appearances on the road over the years.

“We’re still standing, still keeping the music going,” Rossington said when the tour was announced. “We wanted to do the guys who aren’t with us any more proud, and keep the name proud, too.”